Sometimes I crack myself up. Ahem.

Dan Weintraub points to an interesting essay by Glenn Ellmers, the main thrust of which is that the California legislature needs some serious restructuring -- to which I couldn't possibly agree more. Mr. Ellmers suggests tripling the size of the Assembly (from a mere 80 members to 240 members) and making the Senate a true Senate, with representation by county rather than be population.

I would support both these ideas; unfortunately the Senate proposal has already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in a series of judgements known as the "reapportionment cases" (Baker v. Carr & Reynolds v. Sims). These rulings determined that although inequality was purposefully built in to our national Constitution and Republic, each state was required by that same Constitution to apportion its state legislature seats strictly according to population. Apportionment by county is now forbidden, thus denying states the same structural protections that our nation enjoys from the tyranny of the majority that pure democracy tends towards.

Beginning with a series of cases better known as the "Reapportionment cases," the "Federal Analogy" was denied to the States and the Court instead demanded that "The seats of both houses of a bi-cameral legislature must be apportioned on a population basis (Reynolds v. Sims)" and demanded that there should be "One person, One Vote." For justification the Supreme Court twisted the so-called "Equal Protection Clause" of the 14th amendment. The Equal Protection Clause simply means that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law and were thus entitled to "One Person, One Vote." But, as Justice Harlan's dissenting voice pointed out, the equality clause has nothing at all to do with the States power of choosing "any democratic method they pleased for the apportionment of their legislatures."

Further, as we learned, "One person, One vote" was not built into the United States Constitution. Instead it was unequal representation that was built in. The dissenting opinion of Justice Frankfurter demonstrated this knowledge when he wrote that equal representation, "has never been generally practiced. . . It was not the English system, it was not the colonial system, it was not the system chosen for the national government by the Constitution, it was not the system . . . practiced by the States . . . [and it was not then] practiced by the states today."

At the highest level, I believe in democracy, but when it comes to specifics I think it's important that the freedom and liberties of minorty groups be protected as well, which is why I vastly prefer the republican form of government to the purely democratic.



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